If at first you don’t succeed…
You know how that saying goes, right? Try, try again! And that brings us to our next core tenet of martial arts: perseverance.
Perseverance is what keeps us going when it would be easier to give up. It’s what makes us get up when we fall down – and it often means the difference between success and failure.
Let’s face it. Things have changed in recent years. It used to be that kids had to persevere. They didn’t get rewarded for showing up. They needed to prove themselves to succeed.
But nowadays, there’s a real danger of kids never learning the value of perseverance. If every kid gets a trophy, they start to expect a reward for a minimum effort. And – no surprise – that’s not good for them.
You and I both know that as adults, we don’t get a trophy for showing up to work every day. We’ve got to do our jobs, and do them well, if we want to succeed.
Kids learn perseverance in our classes in a very simple way. As they study martial arts, they are tested on their knowledge. It’s how they earn new belts and new stripes. If they haven’t mastered a level, they won’t be rewarded. It’s simple – and it teaches them something important.
When a child tests for a new belt and fails, it teaches them how to lose gracefully. It also teaches them to get back on the horse. They can test again – and as many times as they need to in order to advance.
We tell them that a failure is a learning opportunity. The feedback they receive is something they can use to improve their performance. And, they also learn that it feels better to be rewarded when you’ve truly worked for something than it does to be rewarded for just showing up.
It’s easy to see how learning perseverance can help kids. It aids them in the classroom, because sometimes they won’t understand a concept and they’ll need to persevere to grasp it. It helps them when they’re learning a new skill because they’ll be able to accept constructive feedback and learn from it.
And for the rest of their lives, knowing how to persevere when things don’t go their way will help them get through difficult times with their self-esteem intact.
This is an important skill. We put a lot of emphasis on perseverance because it matters – people who persevere tend to be more successful than those who don’t. It’s that simple.
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